Thursday, September 22, 2016

School Days 2016

First days of school- one of my favorite things as a student, then a teacher, and now a parent! The excitement, the unknown... Eek! 

Now that I have kids I still get excited, but I also become terrified as well! Will they have fun? Will they make friends? Will the teachers notice them? But it's also the thoughts of a new routine (!), new kids to meet and moms to become friends with (!), the growth that I know will come over the year (!)... So much! 

Anyway, you heard all about Jay's first day (because his was the biggest CHANGE for us), but here's another pic just so I can have them all in one spot! 

And now onto my brand new Pre-K gal! Oh my, this seems so old for her. I think I will forever think of her as a three year old for some reason! 

I was worried so much about this one. She struggled the most with the change of a new baby. She became increasingly clingy and attached and so very emotional. She would cry just thinking about school and I was not looking forward to the daily battle of getting her to school. But two weeks before her school started, we had a playdate with her old friends from her class last year. And really, the rest is history. But seriously, just seeing them and remembering how much fun she had with them was all it took- after that she was confident again and getting back to her old self. 

A week later we had another playdate just with some of her girlfriends, had her meet the teacher, and I knew we were set! She hasn't cried or complained about school once! In fact, when you ask her how it was, she always replies, "AWESOME!" ThankyouJesus!

And Molly. Oh, Molly. She has had the hardest time (understandably so). She cried at meet the teacher. The first day she was ok (well she technically missed the first day due to an infected spider bite... Sigh). But she was ok getting out of the car (it's a carpool drop off) and supposedly cried on and off all day. 

The second day, though? Oh. My. Gosh. She cried all morning "I just want to stay with you, momma!" while we got ready. We get in the car and she cried the whole way there. And when we pulled up she literally ran to the back row of the suburban and held onto her car seat screaming as th teachers had to pull her out!!! It was horrible! 

Now to backtrack, I would not send her if she was miserable all day. I got pictures of her happy and painting and laughing. But the initial separation has just been so hard on her. 

Anyway, the third day she willingly got out when she saw her teacher. And the fourth day she told me she wanted to walk in like a big girl. So when we pulled up I told the teacher who got her out and Molly walked in alone and was happy as can be! And no tears at all that whole day! Woohoo! 

So it's been a bit of a whirlwind, but we have all survived and are figuring out this new routine! 

And just because, here is littlest bit on the first day(s)! 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Three Months Old... The Last Chapter!

Oh Hallelujah!

Our last baby has hit three months old and we are officially done with the newborn phase forEVA! This momma wants to throw a party!!!

I know y'all think I'm crazy, but seriously, as soon as Kelsey hit the three month mark, she woke up and all of a sudden became this precious, sweet baby!

At three months old, she is...
-Smiling and talking all the time. She has the sweetest smile and dimples and big blue eyes.
-Wanting to be upright! All the time. She is fine laying on her playmate or in her bouncy seat, but she always try to pull her head up (like an eternal crunch). Our cleaning lady thought this was hysterical! We have now been sitting her in the bumbo or the walker or ANYthing to keep her up.
-Wearing size 1 diapers (though as soon as these are finished we are moving up to size 2!) and size 3 months clothes. She is pretty tall, and the length of newborn or 0-3 month don't work for her!
-Weighs almost 12 pounds! Petite little lady!
-Sleeping... well I have no clue. It's our fourth kid and honestly, we aren't creating any good habits at this point. She is with us in bed and if she wakes up I just nurse her back to sleep. Don't care at all. This is our last and it won't last forever. I'm getting some sleep and that's what is really important! She will go down for the night around 8/830 and usually wakes up for the day around 730
-Rolling over both ways
-Eating about 20 min every 2 1/2 hours.
-Basically cat naps all day. She will get one big stretch of nap in the late afternoon/early evening
-Loving the Baby Bjorn. She loves to face out or snuggle up and nap facing in. She does not love the Moby like the other girls, though.
-Hates hates hates hates hates the car seat. She's gotten SLIGHTLY better- like we will get maybe 5 minutes in the car without screaming- but seriously, just hates it. That's tough when you are a fourth kid and on the go all. the. time.
-Really prefers momma and knows when it's me vs someone else. She has really warmed up to Daddy recently and even Grandeb some! Otherwise, she's not very happy with anyone else... sigh...
-LOVES her siblings. Watches them and smiles at them all the time.
-Absolutely loving the bath. Probably her favorite time ever. She is so calm and relaxed and happy. And she could sit in there forever!

She really has become the sweetest baby. We will seriously go days without crying now (except for the car!!) as long as I've got her and we have our little routine. She will eat, be awake anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours, fuss a little, then I'll get to her sleep by bouncing her, and then she can be laid down or whatever. We've definitely got a good thing going now.

But probably my most favorite thing ever is when I hear her wake up from her nap/night. I will go in there and flip on the lights and talk to her and she just gets the biggest, sweetest sleepy smile. I hope I never forget that look!

Kelsey, it was a rough start, but girl, you are a DOLL now! We love you so much and can't wait to watch you grow!

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Tale of the Potty (Version 3.0)

In true Squillante kid fashion, Molly declared a few weeks ago that she was ready for potty training.

I mean, not exactly in those words, but for two consecutive days started telling me every single time she needed to go teehee and demanded I take her to the potty. Now, this isn't totally abnormal- with two older siblings she knows this is the drill and likes to pretend to be a big kid every now and then.

But this time was different- she did it EVERY time she needed to go and did it for two days. So on Monday, August 22 (yup, the same day Jay started kindergarten and the same day I realized Kelsey could roll over), I decided we probably needed to try out potty training since she seemed ready. For the record, I was NOT ready to do this, nor did I want to even a little. I have enough on plate that I do not need to be worrying about running someone to the potty in public and remembering to have her go before we ran errands- oh and school was starting for her in two weeks. What a nightmare timing-wise!

But I also know kids well enough that if they express a legitimate interest, then you can't pass it up because it might be your only "easy" chance.

And away we went!

I was totally unprepared because I literally had no idea this would be happening now. No panties for her, no prizes/rewards.. nothing. Luckily she can wear her big sister's panties (or her big sister can wear her size.. whatever). So we stayed home pretty much all day Tuesday and Wednesday to do try it out. She was pretty much just naked both those days. And the crazy thing was, I NEVER asked her if she needed to go. She just would stop playing, look at me, and say, "I gonna go potty, mommy." And that was that. By Wednesday she wouldn't let me help her in anyway at all, "No, I gonna do it mysewf!"

By Wednesday, we had had zero accidents and had successfully made it through two separate nap times without a diaper and waking up dry. We were committed by this point. We had one outing on Wednesday (meet the teacher) and so we put on some little panties and went about our business. While we were in the room she told us she needed to go so we showed her where everything was and she did it by herself.

But Friday was the real test. We were driving to Dallas to meet my newest niece (!!!!). Four hours in the car, around nap time... Oy. I tried to make her go before we left, no dice. She just was not going to go. So we stopped halfway to let her go (and load up on snacks and feed Kelsey), and she would NOT go. She tried and tried, bless her heart. She just wasn't going. Finally, we got to Dallas to my sister's house and played for a bit and she finally decided to go! She held it for like, FIVE HOURS!

The next few days were totally fine and accident free. I just knew we weren't going to be so lucky driving home on Sunday (how do you get that lucky two different times?!). But alas, the exact same thing happened this time. She held it the whole trip and went when we got home. Unreal!

We've now been at this a little over two weeks and in those 18 days, we've had two MINOR accidents- both times she teeteed the teeniest little bit and then realized what she was doing and stopped herself and ran to the bathroom! She also is pooping perfectly fine- the first time she was a little nervous to go and got on and off the potty a thousand times. She finally went once and it was a piece of cake from there on out!

And not only have we conquered naps, but she's without a diaper at night and only had two MINOR accidents there (forgot she was asleep and went the smallest amount- like didn't even soak through the sheet, then woke herself up and finished on the potty!).

Needless to say, Molly is a rockstar as far as potty training goes. I will fully 100% admit I had NOTHING to do with this. It was all her. She decided when she was ready, she tells me when she has to go to the bathroom... it's all HER. I am pretty shocked it was as easy as it was, and I'm extra shocked the naps and night time was so smooth. Both my big kids were pretty easy as well, but I'm thinking this was the easiest transition yet. And all without a plan and rewards and well, anything!

So, I know what some of you are thinking... You are a jerk and a braggart. And I know this because I read people's blogs about people whose kids potty train easily and I recently read a Facebook status from a  college friend about not particularly liking people whose kids get it right away. Lest you think I'm a jerk or braggart, I'm just gonna be real... I DESERVE TO HAVE IT EASY HERE. You know why? Because I have really hard, really loud-crying, really bad-sleeping, really really BAD NEWBORNS. So I'm just going to go ahead and take something that comes easily to my kids and OWN IT. That's right! I'm going to shout from the rooftops that we caught a break and this worked out really really well. I'm going to do this because I just had FOUR kids at home all summer long- one of which was an awful newborn, another was a typical two year old, another was a confident child who suddenly became scared to be in a different room from me, and the other was a child who never stopped talking ever. So yeah, it was a sucky summer and I want a reason to celebrate (other than the kids and me actually surviving).

Anyway, I'm so proud of Molly. I'm thankful I had enough of a coherent mind to go with it when she showed she was ready. Here's to you, girl! You deserve it all (and have asked for nothing except independence!)!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The First Week Down!

Welp, we survived the first week of our first kid going to kindergarten!

Look, I know it will seem like less and less of a "thing" with each subsequent kid. I think the reason it's SUCH a big deal with your first kid is because it begins the transition to that next phase of life. The phase where school actually counts, the phase where you can't just take the off to go to the zoo, the phase that puts you one step closer to an empty nest... it just changes things when your first little bird leaves the nest (even if it is only to kindergarten). Things will just be different from now on. And of course, that's not necessarily bad, it's just, well... different.

So we survived drop off and leaving. Jay was WAY more nervous than I thought he'd be. Anthony stayed home from work that morning to take Jay to school. And if you know Anthony, you know this was a HUGE deal. He's not one to EVER miss work- especially not a Monday morning. He thrives on routine and to "go off" schedule is a huge sacrifice for him- and our kids know that. Jay knew it was so special that his daddy was skipping work to take him to school. It was so so sweet.

Anyway, we all set alarms and woke up early. I knew we needed to get out the door by 730, and if we had to get all of us ready, we had no time to waste. I woke up early and got ready and had all of Jay's stuff ready the night before. I may or may not have had the girls sleep in their clothes... ha! Look, if I'm having to get everyone up and moving and out the door AND looking presentable by 730, I'm taking any shortcuts I can!

We left by about 732 and made it to school. We walked in with the masses and said hello to a jillion fellow neighbors. I watched the nervous first time moms (those just like me). As we got to Jay's classroom and I swallowed the lump in my throat for the tenth time, I looked at Anthony and HE WAS TEARING UP! Wait, what?! I was so proud of myself for holding it together this far, and then Anthony gets emotional. That just did me in! I couldn't look at him or anyone else for fear of LOSING it! My goal was to not be emotional in front of Jay- especially because he was so nervous. I wanted him to know that he could be ok with this because we were ok with this.

We took all our pictures and looked around and then said goodbye. I tell you, I can't remember a time when I have swallowed back tears more times than I did this morning. He was nervous and I was nervous. He looked so big yet so so small. I just wanted to run in and scream, "He's not ready!" and bring him home with me. But the reality is, he is SO ready. I know he will just soar once he gets going in school. It's this mommas who is so not ready.....

So thankful he had some buddies in his class! 

He was so embarrassed that Kelsey was screaming! 

Love this one!
If you look closely you can see Daddy's red eyes :)

After the drop off!
This was with our sweet friends (and CK's BFF). 
Daddy duty is strong! 

As we walked out the door and through the halls, I was trying not to cry. This was purely selfish- I passed several other kinder moms who were walking out sobbing and made a mental note to NOT be that girl. And look, if that you was you, then no worries at all. I just knew I'd regret letting it all go with so many people around- that's just how I am! Plus, I looked around at the moms of older kids and they all looked so joyful! Maybe they were ready for their kids to be back in school (very likely), but I also like to think they were joyful because they knew how happy their kids were and how well they were going to do. 

We eventually got back to our car, and I got in and drove off. And that's when I let go and shed a tear or two (hundred). 

But there was really not a ton of time to feel sorry for myself. Kelsey was screaming in the car (seriously??!) and the girls were bickering about what DVD to watch. So we headed home and returned to "normal." I fed Kelsey and then we had plans for a playdate with all of CK's pre-k friends. But because our little area is awesome, one of the local restaurants had a "Back to school" special for the moms- mimosas (or coffee!) and breakfast tacos for CHEAP! A few of my girlfriends and I (and my sister, Jennifer!) met there (with the little siblings in tow!) and chatted and felt sorry for ourselves! Ha!

I'd like to think I looked better than this, but in reality, I didn't. 
Sweaty and tear-stricken aren't a good look. Whatever. 

We headed to our playdate and put the baby girls down for naps. We were just hanging out at home and passing the time until our JayBird got home. In a cruel turn of events, the same day that I sent my oldest to Kindergarten, my youngest hit her first major milestone- rolling over tummy to back! What?! TIME SLOW DOWN. 

That was the best picture I could get of it (I have plenty of video, don't you worry!). The best part of the picture is how happy she was to do it! It's also worth noting that this was her FIRST EVER tummy time. Whoops, totally forgot about that one, but I would say it didn't hold her back too much! Ha. 

Anyway, a few hours later we had this glorious sight!

I'm sure he was totally embarrassed that I was taking pictures! Whatever! 

He was a little off when he got off the bus. Not very talkative and just a little different. His buddy (and our neighbor) Braden came over to play and the boys were BOUNCING off the walls. Then we had dinner that night and Jay might have had a slight meltdown (over nothing). That's when I realized how nervous he had really been. Between the pent up nerves, the energy he was using/forcing down to just sit and be calm all day, and then no recess because of the rain, he was a wreck! But after a "normal" family dinner and finally feeling ready to open up and talk about his day (and never stopping once he got started), his little world fell back into place and he became himself again. 

These girls missed him SO much! They could not get enough after dinner! 
Kisses and snuggles and hugs galore! 
He acted like he didn't want the attention, but he wasn't pushing them off either :)

The rest of the week was SO seamless! Each day he was happy and excited to get on the bus and head to school, and each afternoon he bounded off the bus in a great mood ready to chat about his day. He was pretty exhausted by Thursday night, and Friday morning I had to wake him up at 7:15 (bus comes at 7:30!). 

Looking forward to week 2 and our new normal. It's been an adjustment for all of us, but we haven't let him come home yet without showing him how missed he was! 

Monday, August 29, 2016

6 and Kinder Ready!

Grrrr... I wrote this post LAST Sunday (8/21) night and published it... But it never published! Anyway, I'm not changing anything to preserve the post.. I was sitting in bed next to Jay as I wrote it... you'll see where all those feels are coming from!

It is so fitting to me that Jay turns 6 today and tomorrow we send him off to kindergarten. Can't a momma get one milestone at a time instead of lumping them together?!

So, 6. He's growing into a big boy now with big boy interests. Yes, he's still a baby to me (and the world), but being 6 is the start of real boyhood. 

Jay is so into sports right now. All of them. He gobbles up every bit of sports info given and when he has the choice what to watch, it's sports or sports center. He's loved the Olympics because not only does he get to see his beloved sports, he also gets to learn about all the countries competing. 

Which brings me to his next interest- geography.  Countries, their locations/sizes/populations, history... All of it. 

He is obsessed with hats right now. His hat collection has increased exponentially in the last 6 months. I think he had one and now has 13 or 14. We've got to get a new set of shelves for all his hats!  

He is still as social as ever- and goes to friends' houses as much as possible (or has them over here!). He is so nice and kind and funny to his friends- I love watching how much he loves them, but I also love watching how much they love him. 

He continues to be the most amazing big brother to his sisters! And you can tell how he is because they all just adore him! 

I would still classify him as bright, gentle, kind, inquisitive, caring, and a million other wonderful qualities. He truly is a one in a million kind of boy! 

And about that whole kindergarten thing. Oy. 

I am ready. I am going to be ok. Because he is so ready. I mean, so so ready.

But this is the beginning of a new chapter. Real school. All day every day in someone else's care for the next thirteen years. 

I have prepared him as much as I possibly could, but now as I am sitting next to him in bed as he falls asleep, I am thinking about all the other million things I meant to teach him before this day. 

And we went to meet the teacher last week. And he said two words to his teacher- "yes" and "ok." (Insert eye roll) 

I wanted to grab her and say, "Let me tell you all of the wonderful things about Jay! He is the best because...." and just go on and on and gush all about him. Because, well, she needs to know. And then I want to remind her to ask him if he needs to go to the bathroom or if he's too hot or if his clothes are comfortable or of his shoes are tied too tight. I want her to check and see if he's hungry or happy or whatever... I just want her to check on him! 

And of course, she will, because she's a kindergarten teacher. And she knows what to do. Not just anybody teaches kindergarten, you know. It's someone special who teaches these babies. These people have earned a special place in heaven for taking our kids and loving them and keeping the mommas happy all at the same time. 

And you know what, I DO realize that even if she doesn't check on him, he will survive. And not only will he survive, but he will grow from it. He will learn to speak up when he needs something. And he will learn to fight for what he wants. He will learn so much from being away. 

I know all of these things of course. I know it will be an absolutely wonderful year. I just do. But as I sit here watching him sleep, I just want to hang on to that last thread of baby-hood a teeny bit longer. 

Because tomorrow he will go to kindergarten. And that is one step closer to junior high, one step closer to high school, and one step closer to him flying right out of this nest into college. 

And I can tell you, I WILL be a mess for that one.

So on your sixth birthday, Jay, I am begging time to slow down just a tad bit more. I have a few more things to do with you before you take off for flight. 

I love you, buddy. My JayBird. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Rest of Us

I posted how Kelsey was doing at 2 months, but one might be wondering how the other five family members have been... And to be honest, this is the first time I feel like I can sit and write it all down. So, here's the recap of how we've been over the past two months!

Ok, I won't lie, he has been more helpful this time around than with all the other three kids combined. Not that he wasn't helpful with the others, buuuuut he works long hours and momma had it under control (ish) so his role was the bread winner and the fun guy at night. But not this go 'round. We actually really needed him. Four kids is a lot. And four kids who are 5 1/2 and younger need a lot. There was just no way we weren't going to be utilizing him. Between holding the baby while dinner gets cleaned up (joys of having a needy baby!), or picking up toys, or feeding the animals (pretty sure we forgot that one a few times- thank the Lord the kids give them scraps!), or answering Jay's 1,000,000 questions, or hugging momma after a long day.... to answering the girls' needs in the middle of the night (he has been on night duty for the first time ever!), or taking Jay to swim meets, and taking off work early to be at the baseball games, and driving to birthday parties... I mean, the list could go on and on. Anthony has been a super husband the past few months. All while maintaining a very demanding job! Molly has totally morphed into a Daddy's girl and is smitten beyond measure, and the big kids' relationships have gotten even stronger than they already were. He has really started to figure Kelsey out and is able to help with her more than before.

And we've really strengthened as a team. Has it been perfect? Heck no! Has it been easy? Yeah right! Have we fought and bickered and nagged and gone to bed mad? Yes! But truly, if you look at the big picture, we have come together and united more than before. Most days we just look at each other at the end of the day and laugh and say "we made it!" Some days we just don't know how. Some days we fall asleep at 9:00 without talking much at all. But we're still a team. And we're stronger than ever.

So yeah, I'd say that worked out pretty well. :)

This child. Seriously. I thought at the beginning of the summer when Kelsey first came that we might not survive his questions. And talking. And talking some more. I have never heard a child talk so much in my life. Or ask so many questions. His mind just never ever stops. He wants to know everything about everything. He needed much more than I could give him at the beginning of the summer. He needed activity and mental and physical stimulation. Thank goodness for swim team, but he needed even more than that. Thank you LORD for Grandeb and then for camps, sports, friends, and cousins/aunts. It at least got him over the hump a little bit.

But this boy is truly the sweetest to his baby sisters. He is so good to Kelsey and she just adores him. He and CK are best buds and play together so well every day (and they also fight and bicker just like you'd expect). And Molly thinks he is the hero of all (next to her daddy). Jay has done a great job this summer- and has matured more than I'd like to admit.

Charley Kate...
My little momma. She has been so helpful with all things baby. "Hey Char, I need to go teetee, will you hold Kelsey for me so I can go?" And she is more than happy to oblige. She grabs diapers, makes sure all the other kids have what they need, and is seriously like a second mom. All by her choice, I need to add. I promise I am not forcing this- this is what she loves to do! And I remember feeling like that when I was little! She plays school and Barbies and mommy with her baby dolls. She helps Molly when she needs it and keeps Jay in line. She's always doing cartwheels and handstands around the house and never ceases to amaze with her fashion shows!

But she's also become a little anxious and scared about being away from Mom. I don't know if it was the hospital stay or the new baby in general, but she never wants to leave the house away from me. No camp (her gymnastics camp was a fight every day to get her to go- until she was there and loved it!), no playdates, no sleepovers with Grandeb or cousins... she just cries and says, "But I will miss my mom!" And lest you think I don't give her enough attention... we play Barbies, we run errands just the two of us, we color and draw, we cook together... I can't figure out what I need to be doing for this girl, but you better believe I am working on it from all angles! And then again, thankful for Grandeb who can spend more one on one time with her and takes her to do special little things. <3 p="">

This girl. It's like you'd never know we had another baby in the house. She has embraced her two year old self with a BANG. And we've adopted a motto for this one... "Molly don't care"   And she really doesn't. Kelsey is screaming her head off? Molly don't care. You ask her to pick up her toys? She looks at you like you have three heads and thinks, Molly don't care. It's never ending. And it's hysterical. We have done such a poor job disciplining her because she just really DOESN'T care. And nothing she does is that bad that we need to rule with an iron fist. So she just does what she does and we try to figure it out as best we can!

But seriously, she's been fine with this transition. Some days I can tell she is feeling a little needy, and I'm certainly there to snuggle and play and do whatever she needs. But most days, she just goes on as her little independent self. She has truly become SUCH a daddy's girl. He started taking the girls to bed each night because they take longer than Jay. So since I have Kelsey, I put the easy one to bed, and he can stay a little longer with the girls. And because of that (and because of Anthony being on night duty for her and Anthony having to be Mr. Nurse when she had mono), she loves and adores her daddy. Oh man, there is no one else! It's a precious little relationship! I'm super thankful for this easy transition. And you better believe Anthony is LOVING every bit of it!

And finally, Mommy....
So, the beginning was hard. Really really really hard. I don't know what made it so hard, but it was. Maybe it was a high needs, screaming, eating all the time baby. Maybe it was three other kids ages 2-5. Maybe it was all of the above. Maybe it was none of the above. But something made this transition so much harder for me than any of the others. This was the first time I've had a newborn and realized "I can't do it on my own this time." That was hard for me. I am someone who doesn't need help. I don't accept help. I can do it- alone. But not this time. I needed all of my village. Anthony's parents, my sisters, friends who offer to cook or drop someone off or bring me something, and especially Anthony and my mom. I desperately needed both of them. And because Anthony was out earning our livelihood, it was my mom and me. And Lord, THANK YOU for my mom. I absolutely would not have survived this summer without her. Seriously. She drove the bigs to appointments they had, she took them so I could rest with the littles, she swam with all of them while I sat inside and consoled a baby, she spoiled them, she fed all of us, she ran errands for me, she did ANYTHING at all that I needed. I swear, she helped me more in the past two months than in the past six years combined. No joke. I needed her.

Because this was so hard for me, I feel like I have talked to my friends so much less. I feel like there is always someone who needs my attention, and there is literally not a free second without a kid to make a phone call. I'm not joking. Once school starts, that will be very different. But over the summer, no. free. time. The laundry hasn't gotten done nearly as much and dinners are pretty simple. The chores have piled up and the clutter is creeping up. There are errands to be run and things for the home to be done.

Until this past week and a half.

Momma is BACK! I finally feel like myself again! And I don't mean that in a post-partum, baby blues, emotional perspective. I mean that in a physically capable perspective. I finally feel like we are ready to GO GO GO like we used to! Laundry is getting done again, the playroom has been cleaned out and toys donated, dinners are looking semi-decent again, groceries are being bought (you better believe I take all four kids with me!), and the kids are actually being taken on outings to do FUN things! Gosh, it feels SO GOOD to feel like me again. My mom has finally gotten to REST from all that she's done for me this summer. Anthony can breathe a sigh of relief that his wife is back. And I can truly FINALLY feel confident that not only are we going to survive with four kids, we are going to THRIVE with four kids. We've got this!

It's been a loooong two months. But the Squill Six are ready to rock and roll- and take on whatever life brings our way!